Surrounded by golden pineapples and palm trees

By Kimberly van Dijk

The scents of beer mixed with vomit and loud noises coming out of the window on the first floor. It is common in Delft. The wooden front door is full of posters with ‘Expedition Donny’, the announced theme of the evening. It looks like the house on the ground floor – right underneath the student apartment – belongs to a family with younger children, as children’s bicycles are standing in front of the window. After a steep climb on the stairs, you enter a jungle of roaring boys wearing nice suits, chirping girls in flower dresses and everything in between. The dark room, with a side bar on the left, is filled with empty bottles and inflatable flamingos and palm trees. It is a mess. Over 30 students are talking louder than the house beats coming out of the speaker system.

With the start of a new year of college a couple of weeks ago, student housing is back on the news. And with this housing, inconvenience comes around the corner. With 12.824 students living in Delft at the moment, many others see this as a cause of the problem. Neighbours often complain about the student’s parties and even call the police to report various issues. Lot of times the day after is worse than a sleepless night for the neighbour. A garden full of trash and a smell that is unbearable.

Last couple of years the number of students living in Delft has increased. More and more homes in Delft are converted into student houses which leads to irritation and confrontation. In the past five years, the number of noise disturbance has more than doubled and people call the police faster if they are suffering from students in the city. This growth is in line with the growth in the number of student rooms. Buying houses and dividing them into loose rentable rooms is a trend and it is something that is actually really necessary. DUWO’s prediction says that in 2024 there is a shortage of more than 3000 rooms. But the mess they make of the city, is of course not necessary. The municipality is therefore going to be stricter, but that begins with the citizens themselves. Frequently, neighbours who suffer from the students call too fast. They can try to solve this themselves first. It looks like they acting preventively, which does no good to the atmosphere between people.

After passing the bar there is a small kitchen full of pans with old food remnants. The big white fridge takes one third of the kitchen and passing the kitchen to the balcony is almost impossible. People clash and alcohol is wasted on the ground. A big cloud of cigarette smoke enters through the kitchen window. On the balcony of one by two is standing a young man waving with cigarette. He is almost done. His bottle is on the edge of the balcony and he is spilling beer in the garden down below. He does not know who is living there. Ground floor, the garden that belongs to the young family. Like a rocket, the cigarette makes a dive to the ground. The young – and drunk – man gasps after a symphony of laughter. His friend takes a look over the edge of the balcony after a noise is heard. A door that opens with a sizzling sound afterwards, it is 2:00 AM at that moment. The young family gets a face when the father of the family walks through the door. “Could you be a bit more quiet”, he says.

Luckily no signs of calling the police. Just wait until he wakes up tomorrow and see that his garden looks like a big ashtray.

To make things work between students and neighbours is not always that easy. But with the increasing amount of students in the city, we will have to get used to it and try to make it work. Stronger action must be taken against dissolving behaviour, but it starts with ourselves. It is not always necessary to call the police, just treat the students as every other person. They are willing to talk and will not treat your garden as their bin, as long as you make normal contact and get to know each other. Especially when there is a lot of beer involved and they are surrounded by golden pineapples and palm trees.